Daily Archive: 03/16/2014

Mar 16 2014

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Don’t Mourn, Organise! by NY Brit Expat

The slogan “Don’t Mourn, Organise!” was written in a telegram from Joe Hill to Bill Haywood before Hill’s execution on trumped up charges in Utah. Joe Hill wrote “Goodbye, Bill, I die like a true blue rebel. Don’t waste any time mourning. Organize!”

This slogan is not a call for us to be beyond human and not grieve or mourn. What it is instead is a call not to get so caught up in grief and mourning that we give up the struggle out of despair; it is a call to remind us what we are fighting for and that the struggle continues irrespective of our losses. It takes the loss and puts it in the past (and of course part of our present) and brings to the forefront what those who have passed on have spent their lives fighting for! Presente Bob Crow and Tony Benn!

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This week Britain’s left has seen the loss of two stalwarts, two great fighters for economic, political and social justice. Two men from different class backgrounds who spent their lives fighting in different arenas; one as a member of Parliament in the Labour Party and the other as a giant of the trade union movement, a militant trade union organiser. Both men were thorns in the sides of the ruling class and mainstream politicians … both men not only fought in their chosen arenas but were part and parcel of the general movement for socialism, for democracy, and worked alongside, not as an elevated leadership, those struggling against the not only the excesses of capitalism, but in favour of the creation of a better future for all.

Rather than speak for these men, I will let you have the pleasure of listening to them speak for themselves and am including speeches made by them. Both great orators in their own way, the comparison between Bob Crow’s east London working class accent and Tony Benn’s crisp Oxbridge accent in itself is a pleasure; what they are saying exemplifies their different approaches to the struggle for socialism.

Mar 16 2014

Rant of the Week: Bill Maher’s New Rules: Noah’s Ark, God and Religion

Bill Maher – New Rules: Noah’s Ark, God and Religion

“What kind of tyrant punishes everyone just to get back at the few he’s mad at? I mean, besides Chris Christie.”

“Hey, God, you know you’re kind of a dick when you’re in a movie with Russell Crowe and you’re the one with anger issues.”

“You know conservatives are always going on about how Americans are losing their values and their morality, well maybe it’s because you worship a guy who drowns babies.”

“If we were a dog and God owned us, the cops would come and take us away.”

“I’m reminded as we’ve just started Lent, that conservatives are always complaining about too much restraining regulation and how they love freedom, but they’re the religious ones who voluntarily invent restrictions for themselves. On a hot summer day, Orthodox Jews wear black wool, on a cold winter night Mormons can’t drink a hot chocolate… isn’t life hard enough without making shit up out of thin air to fuck with yourself?”

Mar 16 2014

On Torch Passing

On Sunday, March 16, 2014 8:34 AM, CNN Breaking News emailed:

Sixteen percent of Republican Party members and independents who lean toward the GOP say they would be likely to support Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky for their party’s 2016 presidential nomination

[…]

In the potential race for the Democratic nomination, it’s the same old story: If Hillary Clinton runs, she would start the race as her party’s overwhelming front-runner. According to the poll, 63% of Democratic Party members and independents who lean toward the party say they’d favor Clinton as the Democratic nominee, with Vice President Joe Biden a very distant second at 13%.

Mar 16 2014

On This Day In History March 16

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 16 is the 75th day of the year (76th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 290 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1802, The United States Military Academy, the first military school in the United States, is founded by Congress for the purpose of educating and training young men in the theory and practice of military science.

Colonial period, founding, and early years

The Continental Army first occupied West Point, New York, on 27 January 1778, making it the longest continually occupied post in the United States of America. Between 1778 and 1780, Polish engineer and military hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko oversaw the construction of the garrison defenses. The Great Hudson River Chain and high ground above the narrow “S” curve in the river enabled the Continental Army to prevent British Royal Navy ships from sailing upriver and dividing the Colonies. As commander of the fortifications at West Point, however, Benedict Arnold committed his infamous act of treason, attempting to sell the fort to the British. After Arnold betrayed the patriot cause, the Army changed the name of the fortifications at West Point, New York, to Fort Clinton. With the peace after the American Revolutionary War left various ordnance and military stores deposited at West Point.

“Cadets” underwent training in artillery and engineering studies at the garrison since 1794. Congress formally authorized the establishment and funding of the United States Military Academy on 16 March 1802,. The academy graduated Joseph Gardner Swift, its first official graduate, in October 1802; he later returned as Superintendent from 1812 to 1814. In its tumultuous early years, the academy featured few standards for admission or length of study. Cadets ranged in age from 10 years to 37 years and attended between 6 months to 6 years. The impending War of 1812 caused the United States Congress to authorize a more formal system of education at the academy and increased the size of the Corps of Cadets to 250.

In 1817, Colonel Sylvanus Thayer became the Superintendent and established the curriculum still in use to this day. Thayer instilled strict disciplinary standards, set a standard course of academic study, and emphasized honorable conduct. Known as the “Father of the Military Academy”, he is honored with a monument on campus for the profound impact he left upon the academy’s history. Founded to be a school of engineering, for the first half of the 19th century, USMA produced graduates who gained recognition for engineering the bulk of the nation’s initial railway lines, bridges, harbors and roads. The academy was the only engineering school in the country until the founding of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1824. It was so successful in its engineering curriculum that it significantly influenced every American engineering school founded prior to the Civil War.

The Mexican-American War brought the academy to prominence as graduates proved themselves in battle for the first time. Future Civil War commanders Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee first distinguished themselves in battle in Mexico. In all, 452 of 523 graduates who served in the war received battlefield promotions or awards for bravery. The school experienced a rapid modernization during the 1850s, often romanticized by the graduates who led both sides of the Civil War as the “end of the Old West Point era”. New barracks brought better heat and gas lighting, while new ordnance and tactics training incorporated new rifle and musket technology and accommodated transportation advances created by the steam engine. With the outbreak of the Civil War, West Point graduates filled the general officer ranks of the rapidly expanding Union and Confederate armies. Two hundred ninety-four graduates served as general officers for the Union, and one hundred fifty-one served as general officers for the Confederacy. Of all living graduates at the time of the war, 105 (10%) were killed, and another 151 (15%) were wounded. Nearly every general officer of note from either army during the Civil War was a graduate of West Point and a West Point graduate commanded the forces of one or both sides in every one of the 60 major battles of the war.

Mar 16 2014

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: Sunday’s guests are billionaire Bill Gates; House Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee Chair Rep. Peter King (R-NY); and Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT).

The roundtable guests are ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd; Georgetown University professor and MSNBC political analyst Michael Eric Dyson; Weekly Standard editor and ABC News contributor William Kristol; editor and publisher of The Nation Katrina vanden Heuvel; and Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffers’ guests are Chair of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI); and former national security advisor for President Obama, Tom Donilon.

His panel guests are Capt. Sully Sullenberger, former NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker and Bob Orr.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Guests are White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer; Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ); and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

The roundtable guests are NBC News Political Contributor Robert Gibbs; the Heritage Foundation’s Israel Ortega; Jon Ralston of “Ralston Reports;” and New York Times Washington Bureau Chief Carolyn Ryan.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are Senator John McCain (R-AZ); former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte; Commander William Marks, aboard the USS Blue Ridge in the Indian Ocean; Colleen Keller, who helped find Air France Flight 447; Steven Wallace, who investigated crashes for the FAA for eight years; and Richard Aboulafia, an expert on the 777.

Her panel guests are Charles Blow, Ana Navarro and Ron Brownstein.

Mar 16 2014

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Ukraine crisis: Crimea holds secession referendum

 16 March 2014 Last updated at 08:30

  The BBC

Crimea is voting on whether to rejoin Russia or stay with Ukraine but with more autonomy.

The referendum has been condemned as “illegal” by Kiev and the West but is backed by Moscow.

Since the fall of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych, Russian troops have in effect taken control of the majority ethnic-Russian region.

Voters are expected to support leaving Ukraine, but Crimean Tatars are boycotting the poll.

The BBC’s Ben Brown at a polling station in the Crimean capital, Simferopol, reported a strong turnout – with 100 people arriving in the first 10 minutes after polls opened.




Sunday’s Headlines:

Ukraine crisis: Is the West trying to upset the Russians?

Vanishing ice warning for ‘Mountains of the Moon’

Parents of Japan abductee meet NKorean grandchild

Syrian war is slipping from the hands of battered rebels

Submerged: the Jewish woman who hid from Nazis in Berlin

Mar 16 2014

Formula One 2014: Albert Park

Ugh.

Mar 16 2014

What We Learned This Week

The host of MSNBC’s “Up” Steve Kornacki and his guests share what they have learned this week.